Buying US Mint Coins for Points: Worth It?
Ben at One Mile at a Time recently posed the question, "Is the mint 'game' worthwhile?" For those of you who don't know, the US Mint gives free shipping on dollar coins for the purpose of getting them into circulation. Many Flyertalkers picked up on this deal in mid 2008 and started ordering thousands of dollar coins on their points earning credit cards and then depositing the coins back into their bank accounts. With free shipping, the only cost would be the time and hassle spent lugging thousands of dollar coins into your bank and convincing them to accept the loot.
I haven't bothered with the mint coin deal because I live in NYC and don't have a car or a bank branch within walking distance of my apartment. It would be too much time and effort to do it, though I have to say I'm jealous of the people who have banked hundreds of thousands of points doing this.
The US Mint knows that mileage freaks are taking advantage of the offer and they've cracked down on the number of coins you can order, limiting it to 1,000 every 10 days (per this link). So in essence you can earn about 36,000 points a year (and possibly more if you have multiple people in your household). So if you need to spend some money to hit a spend threshold on one of your credit cards, you can always buy a bunch of dollar coins and either try depositing them at your bank or simply using them day to day.
Do any Points Guy readers have interesting coin stories? Make me proud, people!